Willie Walsh, the boss of British Airways’ parent company IAG, told the transport select committee that there was no business case to expand the UK’s second biggest airport.
“I’m not aware of consultation with airlines for the significant capital expenditure and the additional operating charges to pay for that investment,” he said, “or to see if the airlines actually want a second runway and how they propose to fund it.”
Walsh added: “I don’t see a business case to build a second runway at Gatwick. The only business case you could stand over is one to invest in a third runway at Heathrow, but I’m not going to waste my time because it’s not going to happen.”
Walsh said the prime minister had proved he was afraid to take tough decisions when he kicked the issue of Heathrow expansion “into the long grass” through setting up the Davies commission. “The decision to cancel the third [Heathrow] runway was a mistake and I believe we’ll live to regret that decision,” Walsh said. BA would expand its network as far as possible at Heathrow but nowhere else.
At an earlier Commons hearing, Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said a second runway would allow his airport to compete with Heathrow and said that the current hub was exacting terrible environmental costs on west London.
Meanwhile, the Unite union has vowed to fight any compulsory redundancies at BA after the airline said it would cut 400 senior cabin crew jobs. The airline has offered what insiders say is a generous voluntary redundancy package to crew on the European and worldwide fleet, employed on traditional terms and conditions unavailable to new recruits in the mixed fleet, and believes there will be “good demand”.
BA has started a 90-day consultation period with the first cuts expected to take effect next March.
IAG is already set to make 4,500 workers at BA’s sister airline Iberia redundant, a move that is expected to lead to strikes by Spanish unions.
and Stephen Wingate said Heathrow did not need a 3rd runway
Gatwick and Heathrow attack each other in row over hub airport status, new runways and flights to Far East
December 3, 2012 Heathrow and Gatwick have given evidence to the Commons Transport Committee. Colin Matthews for Heathrow said Heathrow should be the single hub, and needs a 3rd runway. Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, said he would oppose a 3rd runway at Heathrow and wanted to see Gatwick develop as a competing hub airport. Gatwick announced plans to connect low-cost domestic and European flights to long-haul services, to the Far East or USA, with improved baggage transfer, to take on Heathow’s hub airport model. Mr Wingate also proposed London should be served by three 2-runway airports, with both Gatwick and Stansted getting an extra runway, instead of Heathrow getting a 3rd. He rejected suggestions that the South East was facing an airport crisis and said: “There’s a lot of capacity in the system. The challenge is how to make better use of it in the short term.” As well as representatives from the 4 main London airports giving evidence, there were also anti-expansion campaigners. EasyJet said “The importance of the hub airport has been massively overstated.” Click here to view full story…
You can watch the Select Committee proceedings, on the BBC TV website at
The first half is the airports representatives, and the second half the environmental and airport groups.